Gerardo Bolong

Watson walks on to success

SEATTLE - Kennedy Catholic High School graduate Tre Watson has been acknowledged as a big time playmaker throughout his athletic career.

After 22 months of college game inactivity, Watson hit the field with a huge impact in the University of Washington's Sept. 1 season opener versus San Diego State and would start the next five games at cornerback before contributing greatly as a special teams player and situational defensive back while playing in all games during the season.

On the first drive of the SDSU match up, he returned an interception 34 yards to set up the first Husky touchdown while also notching three tackles.

Against SEC and national powerhouse Louisiana State University he had six tackles and two pass breakups including tackles to keep the home team from scoring inside the 5-yard line.

Watson followed up this effort by scoring on a 79-yard return of a blocked kick against Portland State while also making three tackles.

Competing against PAC-12 national powers Stanford and Oregon, the former Lancer had two and four tackles, respectively.

Watson closed out his junior year season with one stop against the Utah Utes, two tackles in a victory at Colorado, one tackle at Washington State in the Apple Cup and one stop in the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State.

The route to the University of Washington after high school involved stops at a junior college and a four-year college before the Lancer alum would make his return to the Seattle area.

Under the guidance of coach Bob Bourgette at Kennedy Catholic HIgh School Watson achieved high level renown and achievements.

In his senior year of 2008, he was named to the Seattle Times All State (all divisions considered) team as a running back when he averaged 12 yards per carry while scoring 35 touchdowns as a catalyst in leading Kennedy to a 9-2 record that included a Seamount League championship and quarterfinal berth in the state playoffs.

With 1,118 rushing yards and being the second highest in Lancer tackles, Watson earned All Seamount first team honors on both sides of the ball.

As a junior, the star athlete achieved all-league first-team status on special teams as well as second team all-league honors on both offense and defense. Besides all-league honorable mention football recognition as a sophomore, Watson has also earned honorable mention all-league as a basketball player in in his junior and senior years.

It would have been convenient to take a direct path to Seattle from Burien, but Watson was considered too small at 5-foot, 9-inches to play at the Division I Football Bowl Series level at the time.

Enrolling at the junior-college level of West Hills College at Coalinga, Calif. (Fresno County), the former Lancer played all 10 games that 2009 season and distinguished himself with six pass break ups along with two interceptions. He returned one of the picks all the way for a touchdown.

He then carried his playmaking and leadership skills to the Central Washington Wildcats (Football Championship Subdivision level) in Ellensburg for the 2010 football season. He started 10 out of 11 games, being credited with 28 tackles, a fumble recovery, forcing a fumble, blocking a kick, and returning an interception 40 yards.

Buoyed by his success, Watson thought long and hard before deciding that he wanted an even bigger challenge: excelling at the highest level of college football.

The process began with Central Washington granting the University of Washington permission to contact the Wildcat starting corner back about the possibility of playing for the Huskies.

He confimed the necessary steps to transfer and make the UW team as a walk on.

On his own volition, Watson immediately enrolled at the UW and called the Huskies' football office and basically called for a roster spot.

With little or no knowledge about Watson, new head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff researched and found out about the big plays that Watson had made at each level of play.

Summer preseason camp beckoned and he had to sit out the 2011 season as a red shirt according to NCAA rules. Scout defense duties in the fall against the Husky offense became part of his preparation. His big play making ability and innate skill to be around the ball combined with his intelligence to make a huge impression.

On the Wednesday before the season opening game, the 5-9, 183 pound player whom many thought was too undersized to play big time college football was given a scholarship by Sarkisian.

At the time, Sarkisian stated, "...There is something to be said about perseverance and I want-to. I appreciate guys like Tre Watson who make a commitment to come here and walk on and earn a scholarship. I think that says a lot about his character."

Following practice, that Wednesday, Watson commented, "It's been a long journey, but I'm thankful."

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.